I was a student at Norwood for nine years, and having graduated, I thought it was time to write a little about my experience.
Norwood is a private catholic school located in Chestnut Hill, and likes to talk about their rigorous academic curriculum and strong arts program. They certainly talk a good talk. They use hot words, their campus is half decent, and they have smiling students talking about how great the school is(I was one of them). However, those hot words hold no meaning. They spend money redoing the parts of the campus you see and neglect things like bathrooms and air conditioning on the upper floor of the Fontbonne campus. And those smiling students? We're prepped and given pre-written key points to base our speeches off of.
I can't say I didn't leave with a few good memories, but I can say that those good memories are far outweighed by bad ones. The great teachers of my childhood are leaving by the dozen and being replaced by inexperienced individuals, some who weren't even looking for a full-time job and got hired for one anyway.
I pride myself on being a fairly intelligent individual, and I excel at mathematics. I can easily go through a lesson or two a day, and was placed in the highest math group. Along with half of the grade. Getting into the most advanced group was a matter of having a parent ask, not merit. The entire past year I self-taught myself the entire course, often a few lessons ahead of my class. The teacher was inexperienced and wasn't able to lead a classroom, and I ended up teaching a lesson towards the end of the year(no one understood it, and the teacher struggled to explain it. I ended up taking over, and was met with several students afterwards, thanking me for making it easy to understand.). There is no room to accelerate through the course if you are advanced.
The rules of NFA are strict and often unreasonable. Things like headband colors were focused on, but poor behaviour went unpunished.
I felt constrained and uncomfortable with my individuality. I left the school an atheist, and I constantly thank my Catholic education for teaching me how awful religion is, so I suppose that's a bonus.
My opinion? If you can afford it, send your child to Friends Select. Or send them to public school. Or talk to actual families and students before choosing a school, at the very least.
One of the exceptional aspects of NFA is the dual track of both the Montessori and Primary educational options. Be sure to look into both options for your children and talk to the teachers and NFA parents to learns as much as you can on what's the right fit for your child. Both programs are excellent here at NFA, and know that no two children of yours will be alike.
Having been here now at the school for more than 8 years, my only concern as a parent is the tone that the Head of School sets upon the school. While she has made great strides in improving the school (including having it named in 2014 as a Blue Ribbon School), she really could foster a totally different energy and vibe at the school, and lighten up around students, parents, and staff.
Fortunately, as noted in other reviews, the community of parents is strong, warm, and inviting. As the heart of the school, the teachers are top-notch and must continue to be given the opportunities to innovate and make a difference. My kids are truly proud NFA students, and the investment in their NFA education is definitely worth it.
NFA is wonderful school with a lot of teachers who are so dedicate to their students. My husband and I are happy that our son goes to norwood. You will be amaze when you go for a tour to the montessori area. they are very close community.
I looked at many schools before choosing NFA. I knew of Montessori principles from my undergraduate studies, but what I had seen in the pass was not impressive. I didn't even want to see the Montessori track that is offered at NFA which continues to third grade, I thought I would send my sons on the traditional track also offered at the school. I was blown away at what I saw. Students working in large open classrooms, choosing meaningufl work to complete, but with the facilitation of kind, caring student-focused teachers. I immediately started my research and went with my gut to send both of my boys to NFA Montessori. There education has been nothing but stellar and they thrive academically, emotionally, and socially at their school. Being a high school counselor, I know that having children thrive is not always the case. NFA works diligently to make sure each child is treated as an individual while delivering their signature academic curriculum that they are known for. I feel confident that the boys will continue to in this strong faith based community. NFA has become an extension of our home because their teachings are also what we hold dear.
NFA is an amazing school. Whether through the montessori or primary programs, children as young as three are encouraged and excited to learn. This continues through their early education and fosters a schoolwide environment where it is "cool" to excel. As with children at all schools, NFA students excel in many diverse and sometimes simple ways, some excel academically, some athletically, some are very sensitive to the need of others, some tell great jokes, many do all of the above! What distinguishes NFA is that each child is free to develop their unique talents in an environment where they are heralded for their individual contributions to the school community. NFA students graduate confident, self-aware, socially conscious, intellectually curious and fully prepared to meet the challenges and academic rigors of high school. As graduates of NFA, the decision to send our children to the school came easily. As parents, that decision is rewarded daily by our children's real love of learning, their classmates, teachers and school.
My children thrive at NFA, just as I did when I was a student there, and just as my sisters and many cousins did. So many of my best memories from childhood came from NFA, and my husband and I are thrilled to see history repeating itself with our children. Our children are constantly challenged academically. The Montessori program cultivates self-motivation and self-confidence which we know will serve our children so well through life. Our children feel secure and happy, because they are a part of a strong community of wonderful people. NFA infuses all aspects of student life with a profound spirituality, creating a sense of peace and purpose in our children for which we are so thankful. NFA cultivates them as athletes who show true sportsmanship, and they love participating in the arts programs. NFA tunes into the uniqueness of each child, and there is a place for every type of personality in this incredibly welcoming and inclusive environment.
We are so pleased with our decision to send our children to NFA. We haven chosen the Montessori path and have found it to be the right fit for our children. They each have their own unique learning styles and the exceptional teachers there have embraced each of them and have helped them all to become successful learners. NFA's curriculum is challenging. It keeps them actively engaged and motivated to learn. I have no doubt that my children will be well-prepared for their secondary education. NFA spiritually engages their students through an extraordinary service learning program. The children are offered special opportunities to share their many gifts with others in need throughout their community. This happens throughout the school year and my children have truly been touched by their experiences with others in need.
My children love going to school every day...to the point where they were upset to miss two days of school to go to Disney. I think that sums it up. I currently have two children who started in the Montessori program at age 3. For me, the Junior Level Montessori program (grades 1-3) is unlike anything I have seen at other schools and what sets the school apart. The children of all three grades are in an open classroom and work to both and help and learn from other students in their class. Independent work gives them ownership and accountability. As a parent of a child with some learning challenges, this has provided a challenging yet non-competitive learning environment. On the social side, for the younger children, the multiple age/grade classes is great. By the time they are 5 year olds, they will know their entire grade level, their entire class of 3-4 year olds, and all of the 1st and 2nd graders who were in their 3-5 class. Going to 1st grade is exciting to see which older kids they will rejoin. Sounds confusing in print, but it creates a very close community for the kids that also carries over to the parents. All in all a great school.
NFA is an outstanding school which prepares its students to go onto the next level of educational opportunities. They have an incredible array of co-curricular groups/sports for our children to join in. Especially wonderful in this day and age considering the cost cutting measures most schools are having to deal with.